Next Big Trip Up: England in the Spring

My trip to England in Fall 2014 was my first across the pond in more than 10 years. Given that England is my favorite foreign country, I knew that I didn’t want the next one to be 10 years down the road. Back then, as a gift for my graduation from college, my parents were nice enough to pay for my airfare. The base fare was $952 on British Airways, which was pretty cheap for non stop BOS-LHR flights at the time (it ended up being $1,034 altogether with window seat reservations both ways). More importantly, I was able to fly on the Boeing 747-400 both ways, which was an incredible experience. All told, I was extremely happy with that trip. That said, I’m similarly excited for my upcoming trip to England.

Pricing

This time, I myself paid for the trip. It was $504.89 base fare, and came out to a total of $576.89 with window seat reservations both ways. As good as that base fare is, it’s not even the lowest that it’s been – British Airways was selling $460 BOS-LHR round trips in November. Regardless, the fact that there has been a $447 reduction in the base fare on the BOS-LHR route from the last time I went to this time – from $952 to $505 – is insane.

Aircraft

You might well know that I am partial to the 747 over the Airbus A380, the latter of which BA is scheduled to begin flying to BOS at the end of March. However, having enjoyed my flight on a China Southern A380 during my trip last month, I decided that I did want to fly on the A380 at least one of the legs of this trip. Since I enjoy the flight home more than the flight over, I figured I would take the 747 on my favored leg of the trip and the A380 on the other leg.

The Itinerary:

  • 04/09/2017 – BA212 – 7:20 p.m. departure (spring schedule) – A380-800
  • 04/17/2017 – BA203 – 4:45 p.m. departure – 747-400

I am seated on the World Traveller upper deck section of the A380, in 82K, and the World Traveller main deck section of the 747, in 49A. Both are window seats – the first on the right, the second on the left.

Other Factoids

Flights I’ve Taken Between U.S. and U.K.:

  • 11/25/2014 – BA212 – 5:55 p.m. departure (fall schedule) – 747-400
  • 12/02/2014 – BA213 – 11:20 a.m. departure – 747-400
  • 11/10/2004 – BA238 – 8:10 a.m. departure – 777-200ER
  • 11/16/2014 – BA213 – 11:20 a.m. departure – 777-200ER

So, to this point, I’ve taken BA213 twice, BA212 once, and BA238 once.

I do like BA213 a lot because it’s a late-morning departure from London and an early-afternoon arrival in Boston, but it’s being operated by an A380 that day, so I decided to take BA203 instead for the 747, which still gets me back around 7 p.m.

Other Notes and Overall Thoughts

While I’m in England, I plan to take a couple of short Euro trips – to Brussels and Amsterdam. Each city was decided somewhat on a whim, but I am confident I’ll enjoy them.

My dad went to Brussels back in 2002, via London. He very much enjoyed taking the Eurostar train through the countryside of France on the way to Belgium. I’ll be taking that train, too, and for less than $90 round trip.

Amsterdam is a fascinating city that I’ve always wanted to see. Also, the easyJet flights were running for around $75 round trip from London Southend, so that should be fun. Two new countries for less than $200 in travel expenses – I’m happy with it.

I’m pretty excited to have finally booked this. The last time I went to England, I was very focused on the excitement of flying on the 747. As a result, the way over was very much a blur (albeit an awesome one). This time, having been on both the 747 and A380, I’ll definitely try to relax and enjoy the flights (and the trip) a lot more.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: September 21, 2016

This week featured the unearthing of some new deals, the increasing of fares on other routes, and a number of notable events in between.

For starters, I was convinced that the Norwegian Index would increase dramatically, as we had to say goodbye to the BOS-OSL route (which, by the way, is still in the low-$300 range for October). However, while both of the routes that were previously listed at under $300 increased in price, the two that were listed at over $300 both decreased in price, resulting in a less dramatic change than I’d anticipated. As a result, we might even see routes such as BOS-CPH and – much more likely – BOS-LGW creep under the $300 mark.

Norwegian Index for September 7, 2016 (measured in dollars): 295.0.

Going back to that last sentence: why is BOS-LGW (at $318) more likely to break the $300 price floor than BOS-CPH, which is listed at $304? Well, BOS-CPH goes out of season at the end of October, and we’re getting close to the final dates. As you may know, the general rule in the airline world is that – all other things equal – the closer it is to the date of departure, the more the price increases. Now, of course, there are times when you’ll find a crazy low fare on a flight departing the following week that should be really expensive, but those are anomalies, and usually have to do with a special promotion, or the fact that the airline is desperate to sell seats. So even though BOS-CPH is significantly closer to $300 than BOS-LGW, it doesn’t have time on its side, whereas BOS-LGW will run throughout the winter.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Beijing

Leave on:

  • September 27

Carrier: Hainan Airlines
Price: $638

Thoughts: So what if it’s short notice? YOLO.

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $304

Thoughts: The route goes out of season at the end of October, but I’d say it’s still possible that this goes through the $300 price floor.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 11, 13-16, 18, 20-23, 25, 27-30
  • February (2017) 1, 3-6, 8, 10-13, 15-28
  • March (2017) 1-9, 11-23, 27-31

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $507

Thoughts: I know it’s the same price as last week, but trust me – this will not last.

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-29

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $580

Thoughts: I believe this is the lowest this fare has gone. For a winter getaway in Portugal, this is well worth the money.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • October 26
  • November 13, 14, 27, 29
  • December 1-5, 7
  • January (2016) 16
  • February (2017) 21, 27, 28

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $318

Thoughts: Dare I say that this route goes under $300? I know it seems implausible, but I’ve learned that the only thing to expect with Norwegian is the unexpected.

 

 

 

NEW YORK

 

New York JFK and Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 11-31
  • Any date in February
  • Any date in March

Carriers: Delta Air Lines (JFK), KLM (JFK), United Airlines (EWR)
Price: $439

Thoughts: So all of the December dates that were available have gone, leaving only 2017 dates available. Doesn’t change the fact that this is a steal.

 

New York JFK – Brussels

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 12-17, 19-24, 26-31
  • February (2017) 1-6, 8-28
  • March (2017) 1-23, 26, 28-31

Carriers: Brussels Airlines
Price: $443

Thoughts: The only Belgian thing I can think of that’s better than this deal is a stack of Belgian waffles. I’m sure there are others, of course, but this is definitely up there.

 

New York JFK – Dublin

Leave on:

  • November 15, 22, 30
  • December 1, 6-8, 12
  • January (2017) 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 30, 31
  • February (2017) 1-3, 6-9, 13-16, 20, 22, 23, 26-28
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 6, 7, 10, 12-14

Carriers: Aer Lingus
Price: $497

Thoughts: Of all the legacy transatlantic carriers that fly between the U.S. and Europe, Aer Lingus is usually the cheapest. However, a flight to Dublin – not Shannon, Dublin – priced at less than $500 is exceptional.

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 19, 22, 24, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 5, 7

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $280

Thoughts: This fare has hovered around the high-$200 mark, but I anticipate that it might plunge below $260 if capacity isn’t filled. I’m not saying “wait,” but waiting wouldn’t be bad, either.

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 22

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $278

Thoughts: It hasn’t set the low-water mark for Hump Day Fare Hacks by some distance, but don’t let that fool you – $278 for a transatlantic flight is not normal.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: September 14, 2016

Norwegian Index for September 14, 2016 (measured in dollars): 292.0.

As you can tell, the Norwegian Index (defined in last week’s post) fell by 2.0. What’s more, though, is that’s not even the most impressive development for this week. Instead, I think the craziest thing is the fact that there are three routes without low-cost carriers that are showing sub-$500 round trips between New York and Europe. If I had to pick one for myself, I’d choose JFK-MUC on Lufthansa for $490, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • September 27 (return October 6)
  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $306

Thoughts: Just waiting for this one to go below $300 (it won’t, but that would be impressive).

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-29

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $585

Thoughts: Combined with Lufthsana’s increase to $597 for BOS-FRA, TAP and BOS-LIS come back into the picture for the exceptionally low price, variety of dates, and the fact that many of said dates fall during the coldest part of winter – an idea time to venture to Portugal.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • December 5
  • January (2017) 9, 11, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1, 6, 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $338

Thoughts: Up $8 on last week but with new dates available. Really don’t know what to make of the fact that there are direct flights to London for less than $400 round trip.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on: October 14, 21 (return October 22, 29)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $286

Thoughts: Norway is cold, but this fare is hot. And with Norwegian going out-of-season at the end of October on the BOS-OSL route, now’s the time to book.

 

Boston – Tel Aviv

Leave on:

  • November 20, 24

Carrier: El Al
Price: $650

Thoughts: Have family in Israel? Want to visit them over Thanksgiving? Book this flight.

 

NEW YORK

 

New York JFK and Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • December 13-19
  • January (2017) 11-31
  • Any date in February (2017)
  • Any date in March (2017)

Carriers: Delta Air Lines (JFK), KLM (JFK), United Airlines (EWR)
Price: $439

Thoughts: Much like last week, my recommendation would be KLM and its Boeing 747 or 777 over the Delta 767 or United 757, but you can’t go wrong with this price and the extensive range of dates.

 

New York JFK – Brussels

Leave on: December 13, 14, 16

Carriers: Brussels Airlines
Price: $443

Thoughts: In addition to the fare listed, there are a number of different dates in 2017 where a sub-$500 fare is available, so your options may be far more extensive than I’ve listed here.

 

New York JFK – Munich

Leave on:

  • December 13

Carriers: Lufthansa
Price: $490

Thoughts: Just one departure date available, sure, but this is crazy stupid low. Never thought I’d see a Lufthansa long-haul flight going for less than $500.

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 3, 5, 7

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $261

Thoughts: A dollar off last week. Stockholm, eat your heart out.

 

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 15, 22

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $269

Thoughts: A very commendable second place in the unofficial Norwegian competition for lowest fare of the week on Hump Day Fare Hacks.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 24, 2016

 

To give you a bit more insight into how I choose the deals for Hump Day Fare Hacks, I’ll start off by saying that these aren’t always the five cheapest intercontinental flights from Boston and New York. Instead, I look at current prices, and make a subjective judgement regarding which flights are the best “value.” This judgement is made given a number of factors, including the displayed price vs. normal price for that route, the distance of the route, the number of available dates, and the airline. So even though a Norwegian price, for example, might not be steeply discounted from the normal prices that Norwegian offers, the fact that its prices are significantly lower than many legacy carriers — whether the ticket is priced at a “normal” fare or “special” fare —  means that a number of Norwegian flights make their way into Hump Day Fare Hacks. And while I’m careful to not let this become a “list of Norwegian fares this week” sort of list, I do think it’s important to include them, as I’ve discovered that many people have no idea that you can fly to Europe for less than $300 round trip.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $336

Thoughts: A bit of a hike from last week, as well as a reduction of dates. Still a fantastic price.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • November 22, 24, 26-30
  • December 1-13

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $525

Thoughts: A Lufthansa round trip for $525. Tickets on this route generally go well north of $800, so don’t expect this one to last.

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • September 12, 13, 19, 22, 27
  • October 4, 5, 10-24
  • January (2017) 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-29

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $585

Thoughts: I’d come to expect sub-$700 flights from TAP, but sub-$600 is well below market value, I think.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $328

Thoughts: If I’m correct, this is the cheapest that BOS-LGW has ever been.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 26 (return October 4)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $286

Thoughts: Thinking that sub-$300 Norwegian flights might need to be excluded because they’re so commonplace. That said, many people still aren’t aware of how cheap transatlantic flights can be, so out the window goes that thinking.

 

NEW YORK

 

Newark – Brussels

Leave on:

  • November 22, 23, 25-30
  • December 1-14

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $460

Thoughts: Is sub-$500 the “new normal” for flights to Brussels? Time will tell, but I’m not super optimistic. Either way, this is a very good deal.

 

New York JFK – Johannesburg

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 11-31
  • February (2017) 1-10, 12-17, 19-23, 27, 28
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 6-8, 13-16, 21-23, 27-30

Carrier: South African Airways
Price: $906

Thoughts: A pretty solid spread of dates (although winter flights from JNB to JFK usually feature a stop in Senegal).

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • December 2
  • January (2017) 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 3, 5, 7, 16, 17, 21, 23
  • March (2017) 2, 7, 9, 14

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $261

Thoughts: $261. $261. Move aside, Stockholm, there’s a new king of the week.

 

New York JFK – Paris

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 17, 26, 29, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 28

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $328

Thoughts: $328 for Paris is well below market price — even adjusted for “Norwegian deflation.”

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • November 25, 30
  • December 2
  • January (2017) 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 27

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $270

Thoughts: $12 less than last week. That statement in and of itself would be good; considering that it was $282 last week, this is even better.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 17, 2016

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Norwegian Air Shuttle is the most-represented carrier in this week’s edition of Hump Day Fare Hacks. Even so, the average of Norwegian’s five fares is $294.80. That is simply stunning.

There weren’t any crazy developments this week in the form of new, out-of-this-world fares. However, as I had (unfortunately) suspected, prices on EWR-HKG and JFK-HKG did not stay insanely low forever — they are now in the mid-$700 range at best from those airports. That said, the fact that they’re that low is still pretty incredible if you think about it.

For those looking to stay closer to home, you’re in luck: jetBlue is currently having a flash sale for Labor Day weekend. Buy tonight before 11:59 p.m. EDT and you’ll have the opportunity to purchase fares as low as $58 round trip (yes, round trip) to a number of different destinations (I counted 16 from Boston). Absolutely crazy.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • September 27 (return October 6)
  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $306

Thoughts: Hasn’t gone below $300 yet, but I think it well could — especially if Norwegian is having trouble selling seats. (Not saying that such is the case, but I don’t have access to the load factors for any of Boston’s Norwegian routes yet, so it could well be possible).

 

Boston – Munich

Leave on:

  • December 11, 12, 13

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $628

Thoughts: Any flight you can get on Lufthansa for — I’d say — less than $800 is certainly a good deal. Less than $700, even better.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, 15, 17

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $336

Thoughts: Consistently having to remind myself that this is, in fact, real.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 30 (return October 8)
  • October 17, 21 (return October 25, 29)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $269

Thoughts: I’d have to go back and check, but this may well be the lowest fare that I’ve seen on BOS-OSL while producing Hump Day Fare Hacks. That it dropped $16 from last week and is available on two more dates than it was then is truly remarkable.

 

Boston – Tel Aviv

Leave on:

  • November 24, 26 (return December 1, 3)

Carrier: El Al
Price: $650

Thoughts: A fantastic deal for people who want to spend Thanksgiving in Israel.

 

NEW YORK

 

New York JFK – Brussels

Leave on:

  • December 15

Carrier: Brussels Airlines
Price: $460

Thoughts: This price certainly stands out, as it’s much lower than one would expect to pay on this particular route — perhaps obvious given that it’s available on only one departure date. Brussels retrofitted its Airbus A330s in 2012, and its long-haul economy product seems to be an extremely good one.

 

New York JFK – Johannesburg

Leave on:

  • August 29 September 4-14, 18-22, 25-29 October 3-5, 10-12, 14, 17-20, 24-28, 30, 31 November 1-4, 7-17, 22
  • January (2017) 11-13, 15-20, 22-27, 29-31
  • February (2017) 1-10, 12-17, 19-23, 27, 28
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 6-8, 13-16, 21-23, 27-30

Carrier: South African Airways
Price: $907

Thoughts: While this might not be a steal in terms of “face value” ticket price, it is certainly excellent value for your money — with a large selection of available dates, to boot.

 

Newark – Munich

Leave on:

  • November 16, 18, 21
  • December 10, 11, 14

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $527

Thoughts: It might not be Lufthansa, but a sub-$600 round trip to Germany is certainly one worth considering.

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • January 13, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February 3, 5, 17

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $281

Thoughts: $1 more and a slight number of dates less than last week, but still an unbelievable deal.

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 18, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20, 25, 27

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $282

Thoughts: See everything (directly) above? Same applies here.